Black Narcissus


D: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Rank/The Archers (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)

UK 🇬🇧 1947

100 mins


W: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger [based on the novel by Rumer Godden]

DP: Jack Cardiff

Ed: Reginald Mills

Mus: Brian Easdale

PD: Alfred Junge

Cos: Hein Heckroth

Deborah Kerr (Sister Clodagh), Sabu (Dilip Rai), David Farrar (Mr. Dean), Flora Robson (Sister Philippa), Jean Simmons (Kanchi), Kathleen Byron (Sister Ruth)

Often considered amongst the greatest British films of all time and the very best films of the 1940's, this drama from the collaborative duo Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger does have some truly impressive moments considering it's age, the storyline however is more of an acquired taste.

Set at a Himalayan convent during the height of the British Empire's occupancy in India, a group of nun's struggle to adapt to their surroundings as they teach the native people the English language, with two of the sisters' developing a rivalry when they both establish a friendship with a cynical but dashing government officer Mr. Dean.

The title is in reference to the perfumed clothing of a bejewelled Indian officer who visits the convent to learn English, and he becomes infatuated by a seductive native girl (played by Jean Simmons in a strange, but very memorable role). 

The subject matter does touch on themes which balance between religious duty and emotional restraint, which aren't such an important issue in modern times, but the production is so well made for its age that it still remains an impressive piece of filmmaking for its British auteurs. 


Black Narcissus
Black Narcissus
Did You Know:
Cinematographer Jack Cardiff said that the lighting and color palette of this film was inspired by the works of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.